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  1. #1
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    first post for first upgrades!

    Hey fellas i have been lurking on the site for a while and finally decided to join in on some conversations. I have been riding my stock trek 4500 since 2011 and its done pretty well for me since then. I mostly ride trails with a mixture of sandy sections and small rocks and roots and the occasional small drop of maybe 1-3 ft. I have held off on upgrading anything on the bike because i wasn't sure if i would want to upgrade to a better all around bike. Eventually i found I'm very comfortable on this bike and think it can handle everything i can throw at it skill wise. The biggest problem comes from the fact that i'm 6'3 and 300#. the front fork recently started feeling...."clunky" and there seems to be more and more play in the lockout as time goes on. after doing some research it would appear there really isn't a xc fork suitable for the big fellas outside of stepping up to a very expensive fork or hoping i can find some extinct version on ebay. I had seen some people recommend switching to a DJ fork and that should be able to handle the weight of the bigger fellas better. So i was hoping to get a recommendation for a decent fork for this bike.... say $400 or less? Im not worried about making my bike to heavy im more interested in functionality and durability. Also if you guys could suggest a good set of wheels and tires for the bigger framed guys i would really appreciate it! It can be truly frustrating trying to find the right equipment to handle us big boys!

  2. #2
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    Re: first post for first upgrades!

    Im close to ur size was well larger when I started riding. I ride a trek Marlin 29er ht now, bought back in winter. But only stock part is seatpost. Forks are what a mamba has, then slx 2x10, bb7 brakes, and so on. Basic entry level forks hold up but need service and repair more often for us than smaller guys, overall bike just needs more attention for guys like us. As long as it isn't the really cheap suntour forks. So really it doesn't matter the forks, its going to need love more than if a lightwieght was on them.

    I ride a rockshox xc32 tk and have no complaints but i only ever use the lockout on pavment for bigger climbs, never bother on the trails.

    But I'm planning on upgrading next season more so cause i plan on racing local series novice class for fun next year. Haven't decided which fork I'm going to buy yet, biggest thing is going to be expense of service/repair. Parts cost, cost of tools needed since i do my work myself. Plus wait time for parts.

    $400 actually goes a long way on forks for us. Rockshox recon air, manitou tower, even rockshox reba on sale. Biggest thing is just air forks. My xc32 with firm spring works well right now just gotta avoid bigger drops/jumps (over 12") or it bottoms ou, but i don't often come across anything like that unless I accidently go down a black rated trail which i try to avoid like the plague anyway as I'm a newb.

    And look at expensive forks this way, they aren't cheap when they need a repair which will happen, read around some more guys that weigh under 200 still having to rebuild forks every couple years, just happens.

    Sent from my HTC Sensation Z710e using Tapatalk 2
    Trek Marlin 29er

    Like It, Love It, Want Some More Of It!

  3. #3
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    Appreciate the quick reply Tigris! Unfortunately my bike did come equipped with the suntour fork. Do you have any input on the forks designed for dirt jumping like the marzocchi DJ1 ? would they be able to better handle the stress of a big fella or is air the best way to go? Sorry in advance for all the newb questions im just trying to buy the right fork the first time... it just seems like so many people feel the XC forks just wont hold up. I would just like to have a little piece of mind when and if i ever do come off the ground to know my fork isn't bottoming out instantly lol... thanks again!

  4. #4
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    I specifically looked for air shocks on my recent purchase. I have read the coil shocks are no bueno for us Clydes over 200#. I am at 250 and my RockShox Sektor seems to be holding up well for an entry level air fork.

  5. #5
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    You qualify for a Raidon air fork as an upgrade from Nick at Suntour. 189+12 shipping.
    It has a sealed compression damping unit like a shock absorber. You don't need to change the oil as in some open bath forks.
    So maintenance is minimum.
    If you want to upgrade your Suntour fork

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by eb1888 View Post
    You qualify for a Raidon air fork as an upgrade from Nick at Suntour. 189+12 shipping.
    It has a sealed compression damping unit like a shock absorber. You don't need to change the oil as in some open bath forks.
    So maintenance is minimum.
    If you want to upgrade your Suntour fork
    this is awesome thanks! Would you consider the epicon over the raidon or is the extra price not justified? Im just trying to make some solid upgrades that with maintenance will hopefully last a long time. I was also looking to upgrade to a beefier set of wheels when i do the fork upgrade. Would i be able to upgrade to a 15mm TA on my trek 4500 or would it not be compatible? thanks again for any advice fellas!

  7. #7
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    You will have to have your front hub replaced with a compatible hub for the 15mm thru axle, so it is not really compatible. You would be looking at a lot more money. It looks like the Raidon X1 LO would be a decent upgrade to keep you riding on the cheap. The Epicon forks appear to be 29" only which means you cannot even consider them.

    Any fork you look at should:

    1. Be roughly the same travel as the fork you are replacing. 100mm. Stick with it.
    2. Should be standard quick release front axle. (Save you money building new wheels)
    3. Should have an AIR spring. Coils are not great for us because you need a MUCH higher spring rate coil than you can get from manufacturers. You will be AMAZED at the ride difference once you have an air sprung fork and you set the sag correctly.

    the Suntour upgrade sounds like a GREAT deal and if I were you, I would definitely jump on it and try to do it.
    Fat guys need bikes too.

  8. #8
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    If you do decide to upgrade, I really like Marzocchi DJ forks. I don't think there is a brand as strong and maintenance free. I had one one my dirt jump bike, never any issues (including large drops, etc). Also as a former bike shop employee, seemed like the only reason one was getting worked on was the springs getting changed for a different weight of rider.

    Good luck with whatever you do, just wanted to toot marzocchi's horn.
    “Think of bicycles as rideable art that can just about save the world.”
-Grant Petersen

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Knight511 View Post
    You will have to have your front hub replaced with a compatible hub for the 15mm thru axle, so it is not really compatible. You would be looking at a lot more money. It looks like the Raidon X1 LO would be a decent upgrade to keep you riding on the cheap. The Epicon forks appear to be 29" only which means you cannot even consider them.

    Any fork you look at should:

    1. Be roughly the same travel as the fork you are replacing. 100mm. Stick with it.
    2. Should be standard quick release front axle. (Save you money building new wheels)
    3. Should have an AIR spring. Coils are not great for us because you need a MUCH higher spring rate coil than you can get from manufacturers. You will be AMAZED at the ride difference once you have an air sprung fork and you set the sag correctly.

    the Suntour upgrade sounds like a GREAT deal and if I were you, I would definitely jump on it and try to do it.
    I intend to build myself up some wheels for the new fork ( obviously i wont be installing this stuff until ive bought it all). Is there any forks with the 15mm TA that have a 1 1/8 steer tube? Im really trying to make this a sturdy platform for my big a$$ and think i would really enjoy a stiffer front end . If not i also remember reading something about a 9mm TA also... will a fork designed for 9mm QR also work for 9mm TA with the correct hub? sorry if this is becoming confusing.... i have been racking my brain trying to figure this stuff out through former threads but i feel like my heads just starting to spin....

  10. #10
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    Yes, there are plenty of options of forks that are 1 1/8 steerer and 15mm thru axle. Rockshox calls them maxles, Fox and other companies sell them as well. As I Clyde myself, I insiste that I needed a quality air sprung fork, so I bought a bike with a rockshox Reba with the 15mm maxle and haven't been disappointed.

    To answer your questions, no you can't convert a 9mm qr fork into a thru axle. Not because of hub compatibility, but because the way the fork lowers are designed. A thru axle fork looks like this link or this link, and you can see that how that compares with the QR on your bike which is open ended and the axle just drops out.. I don't know of a 9mm thru axle on the market, but there is also a 20mm out there, but I believe you'd be fine with the 15mm

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZmyDust View Post
    Yes, there are plenty of options of forks that are 1 1/8 steerer and 15mm thru axle. Rockshox calls them maxles, Fox and other companies sell them as well. As I Clyde myself, I insiste that I needed a quality air sprung fork, so I bought a bike with a rockshox Reba with the 15mm maxle and haven't been disappointed.

    To answer your questions, no you can't convert a 9mm qr fork into a thru axle. Not because of hub compatibility, but because the way the fork lowers are designed. A thru axle fork looks like this link or this link, and you can see that how that compares with the QR on your bike which is open ended and the axle just drops out.. I don't know of a 9mm thru axle on the market, but there is also a 20mm out there, but I believe you'd be fine with the 15mm
    How exactly does the maxle work? it looks like the rebas all have the quick release dropout on the forks and unfortunately a fox fork is out of my price range....

  12. #12
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    The Rockshoxs are out there. We're talking about a bike with 26 inch wheels right? They're not cheap, but they're there. Edit: Nevermind that one is tapered. I think they're out there?

    After a few seconds of research it looks like you can get a cheaper 29er fork with Thru axle than 26er.

    Watch this to see how the maxle works How To: Remove RockShox Maxle Lite Axle. - YouTube

  13. #13
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    I bought my bike in 2010 and had considered going with the 29 inch wheels but they were so expensive then.... I cant believe how much the price has dropped since then. I really do like my bike but i'm starting to feel like pretty soon anything 26" is going to be a pain to buy.... my LBS has practically all but stopped carrying anything but 29ers. It seems like the only forks that are made for 26" wheels with a through axle design come with too much travel for my bike ( i need 100 mm ). Even the fox shocks only come with 15 QR not 15 TA.... is 15 qr much better than 9? Maybe ill just have to live with the 9 mm qr on this one. I wouldn't be opposed to selling my bike but i feel like i would only get a couple hundred for it and would wind up with another entry level bike ( I have never been good at saving money lol ) although this time it would be a 29er... Any thoughts on my predicament are appreciated.

  14. #14
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    Does anyone have experience with the manitou circus expert? It has a 20 mm TA and from other reports it sounds like its a pretty durable fork...would this be cool for a 300# rider?

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigred805 View Post
    I bought my bike in 2010 and had considered going with the 29 inch wheels but they were so expensive then.... I cant believe how much the price has dropped since then. I really do like my bike but i'm starting to feel like pretty soon anything 26" is going to be a pain to buy.... my LBS has practically all but stopped carrying anything but 29ers. It seems like the only forks that are made for 26" wheels with a through axle design come with too much travel for my bike ( i need 100 mm ). Even the fox shocks only come with 15 QR not 15 TA.... is 15 qr much better than 9? Maybe ill just have to live with the 9 mm qr on this one. I wouldn't be opposed to selling my bike but i feel like i would only get a couple hundred for it and would wind up with another entry level bike ( I have never been good at saving money lol ) although this time it would be a 29er... Any thoughts on my predicament are appreciated.
    I don't think you're clear on what you're asking for here.

    As a larger rider, you're looking for a thru axle fork, 15 mm would work great. It is QR just because its not a bolt on, it has a lever and comes out quickly. If you can find an air sprung 15mm QR thru axle in the steerer tube size and travel that you need in your price range, you should consider it.

    I posted links to pictures above, but watch this video and notice how the axle is threaded into the fork, rather than a 9mm qr which just drops out. 2009 Fox Talas RLC 140 15mm QR Thru Axle - Mountain Biking by 198 - YouTube

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